Mexican coppers stored drug gang kidnap victims in their jail

Several police officers in northern Mexico allowed a violent drug gang to hold kidnap victims in the local jail while ransom payments were being negotiated…

Four police officers from Juárez, a suburb of the city of Monterrey, are being held pending further investigation, said Jorge Domene, the security spokesman for Nuevo León state.

The scandal came to light this week when state and federal police freed two kidnapping victims from jail cells in Juárez. Investigators believe that the victims were abducted by the extremely violent Zetas cartel and that the officers were working for the Zetas, Domene said…

Domene noted that last weekend, the Nuevo León attorney general’s office detained 73 local policemen from a half dozen communities in the state who confessed to having performed various services for gangs, including spying, acting as lookouts, and carrying out killings and kidnappings…

The most scandalous case of prison corruption came to light in July 2010, when an investigation revealed that guards and officials at a prison in the northern city of Gómez Palacio had freed inmates belonging to a gang, lent them guns and sent them off in official vehicles to carry out drug-related killings, including the massacre of 17 people earlier that year.

The guards allowed the inmates to return to their cells after the killings so that they would be safe from reprisals, authorities said at the time.

“We have barely been in time to put the brakes on organised crime in the first stages, but in some towns, in some areas of the country, they have infiltrated authorities in a practically symbiotic relationship,” President Felipe Calderon said during a speech to members of the business community on Thursday.

With friends like these…

The old saw is as true as ever. Calderon’s speech is a farce. From here it sounds like he’s repeating truisms that the average 6th-grader could have presented as analysis of Mexico’s corrupt interrelationships between government, police and gangsters. 10 years ago. 20 years ago.

No “reforms” have been passed by their Congreso. State and local governments most often manage those relationships by bribery, kickbacks and protection payoffs – rather than by housecleaning and prosecution. Force of arms is the only solution attempted by the Calderon government. Half-measures at best.

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